Haves and Have-Nots: How The Pandemic Divided America

Haves and Have-Nots: How The Pandemic Divided America

53 percent of Americans struggle to keep up with living expenses such as car payments and rent. The pandemic has divided the country into two camps: the haves and the have-nots.

Raghavan Mayur
Raghavan Mayur

53% of Americans struggle to keep up with living expenses, such as car payments and rent.

The pandemic has divided the country into two: the haves and the have-nots.

The latest TIPP Poll conducted in late April asked Americans, "How concerned are you about keeping up with living expenses, such as car payments or rent, due to the coronavirus situation?" The breakdown of the responses:

  • 27% were very concerned
  • 26% somewhat concerned
  • 22% not very concerned
  • 19% not at all concerned
  • 7% not sure/no answer

The 53% who are very or somewhat concerned are the "Have nots," and the 41% who are not very or not at all concerned are the "Haves."

Americans of all income levels face the struggle.  The share of "have- nots" by income:

  • 62% with household incomes under $30K
  • 56% for $30K-$50K bracket
  • 47% for above $50K

Job Sensitivity

The job-related data in the poll presents a picture of stark contrasts.

While the overall job sensitivity in the United States is 50%, job sensitivity among concerned households is 68 percent, compared to only 26% among non-concerned households.

54% of concerned households have at least one member looking for a full-time job, compared to only 26% of non-concerned households.

48% of concerned households have at least one member worried about losing a job in the next 12 months vs. just 9% among non-concerned.

The Stimulus Check

Another case in point is how Americans plan to use the Biden stimulus money.  Most of the "have-nots" plan to use it for basic living needs, while most of the "haves" plan to save.

Jobs are the best method to close the divide. Once the job situation improves, struggling families will be able to make ends meet and return to normalcy.  While we all are optimistic about the economy's prospects, raising taxes on corporations is a big disincentive and prescription for exporting much-needed American jobs.

In the traditional sense, the infrastructure bill is more critical now than ever because such jobs need a significant amount of physical labor and trade jobs on or near the job site.  For instance, job opportunities in road construction cannot be exported or sublet to Mexico or Canada. The work must be completed in America by Americans.

It's not just the money, jobs improve the attitude, confidence, and economic well-being of those in the "have-not" category.

While the government will fund these infrastructure projects, independent contractors will perform most of the labor.  They will, in turn, create demand and opportunities for others, such as lunch truck drivers, delivery drivers, sanitation workers, painters, pavers, and landscapers.  Job creation will reduce the number of people concerned about paying their bills from 53% to well under 50% by the end of the year.

Although this country has a two-party system, we must remember that we accomplish the most when we work together.  Now is the time to reach compromises and make progress that will benefit more than half of the American people, across all divides.


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TIPP Takes

China To Relax Birth Policy But Wary Of Social Risks, Sources Say

  • According to policy sources, China will proceed cautiously in relaxing its birth policies for fear of jeopardizing social stability.
  • The most recent census emphasizes the importance of addressing the country's declining birth rates and aging population.
  • In the late 1970s, China implemented a contentious "one-child policy," but relaxed restrictions in 2016 to allow all couples to have two children. However, the change failed to halt declining births as it attempted to rebalance its rapidly aging population.
  • The risk is emphasized by a fertility rate of 1.3 children per woman in 2020, comparable to that of aging societies such as Japan and Italy.
  • In recent weeks, the People's Bank of China has become more vocal about the sensitive population issue. The PBOC stated in April that China should "fully liberalize and vigorously encourage childbirth."
  • Demographic changes may cause economic stagnation, a drop in the savings rate, and asset price deflation. The growing rivalry between China and the United States has increased the urgency for China to build a more innovative economy. China aims to reduce its reliance on foreign markets and technology under President Xi Jinping's "dual circulation" strategy.

Philippines' Duterte Issues Gag Order On Cabinet Over South China Sea Spat

  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte barred his cabinet from talking about the South China Sea in public.
  • Beijing claims almost the entire South China Sea, through which about US$3 trillion (S$4 trillion) worth of ship-borne trade passes each year.
  • In 2016, an arbitration tribunal in The Hague ruled that that claim, which China bases on old maps, was inconsistent with international law.
  • Since taking office in 2016, Duterte has pursued warmer ties with China, setting aside the territorial spat in exchange for Beijing's promise of billions of dollars in loans, aid, and investment.
  • Duterte has rebuffed a call from China to withdraw vessels from disputed areas of the South China Sea and said he would not bow to pressure, even if it jeopardizes his friendship with Beijing.

France-Africa Summit Aims To Counter COVID's Economic Impact

  • France is due to hold a summit for selected African heads of state to spur economic growth in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts differ on the guest list and conference expectations citing reality on the ground.
  • The summit's primary goal is to 'give a big boost' to countries hit by COVID-19. To this end, some Africans think it offers excellent prospects for the continent.
  • There are more pressing issues affecting the continent, which the current conference does not address. There is no clear indication as to whether the summit will be discussing some of the broad political, social, and governance issues raised by human rights activists.
  • "The IMF will be there but not WHO. It is obvious COVID is not the priority," French parliamentarian Nadot said.
  • Many commentators have highlighted that the new scramble for Africa is well underway. According to Nadot, this summit is about the flexing of muscles by the world powers.

COVAX Has Received Zero Shipments — Making It 140 Million Doses Short — Since March Because Of India's Outbreak

  • UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore said the COVAX scheme was far behind where it needed to be due to the situation in India and that rich countries needed to do more.
  • The Serum Institute of India (SII), the world's largest drugmaker, had agreed to supply COVAX with one-quarter of the 2 billion vaccines it wanted to administer in 2021.
  • The SII suspended exports in March to focus on the domestic market after a devastating second wave hit the country.
  • Ms. Fore said that between the EU and the group of G7 nations, around 153 million vaccine doses could be found to replace the shortage if each country "gave 20% of their available supply over June, July, and August."
  • Experts have called COVAX's plan to vaccinate 20% of the populations of 92 countries by the end of 2021 as "the bare minimum."

China Donates More Vaccines To Zimbabwe

  • Zimbabwe has taken delivery of 100 000 more doses of the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine from China donated to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) by their counterparts, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
  • The consignment handed to Zimbabwean authorities by Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun included 420 000 syringes.
  • The latest consignment is the third batch of vaccines donated by President Xi Jinping’s administration to Zimbabwe, and Zimbabwe has also bought some vaccines from China.

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